Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hillsdale and its message to the World: The Truth Shall Set You Free

“Together we have built a beautiful dream;  We have proved that integrity, values, and courage can still triumph in a corrupt world.”
George Roche III, Hillsdale College

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

            And from dreams we must wake to consider the truth;  From truth we must glean the needed facts which make the future, as a reality, possible. 

            I met President Roche many times when my daughter, Ayn, was a student at Hillsdale.  I met Mr. Trowbridge and was inspired by the message and will that kept this small mid-west college alive with the philosophy of freedom.  When I dropped off my daughter, I was comforted by knowing that she was entering into an institution that would enable her to explore the greatness of the world while it kept her safe from the depredations that stalked so many other campuses in America.  Hillsdale offered this and delivered. 
            But I have now reached a point of discontinuity with the powers that plot the course of Hillsdale’s progress into the future.  And the issue is not George Roche’s right to privacy regarding the death of his daughter-in-law. 
          George Roche has no right to privacy.  His son might claim that right; but not he.  And his son is speaking out and seeking justice for a beloved wife. 
            What is private is so because it has not become public.  This is painfully public.  And in this we find played over again, in a very different venue, the protestations of Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky Affair. 
            We must stop living in a world we divide neatly into public ethics and private ethics.  Because we live in only one world and the untidy detritus washes up on the shores of that world, visible in the lives of individuals damaged by sexual depredation, abuse, and all the kinds of theft, fraud, and violence, that we consign to the veil of the private.    Lives are shattered by private acts of wrong doing in ways that are more lasting and costly to individuals at least as often as they are by acts of public malfeasance and war.   Acts of private depredation consign more women to welfare than do public acts. 

            Bill Clinton had no right to privacy that enabled him to live one ethical life privately and another publicly;  Neither does George Roche III. 
            The freedom movement, a combination of Conservatives, Libertarians, and other individualists, have in this crisis, an opportunity to extend the vision of justice and sovereignty inherent in the individual into a vision which emancipates the human spirit, making a new understanding of the future not just possible, but immediate. 
            It is really very simple.  We must stop circling the wagons when our own fiefdoms are threatened.  We must open ourselves up for truth, thus creating clarity in understanding for ourselves and revealing to others that no crisis is more immediate or important than simple truth and the individual.   
            In truth, those damaged can find healing.  The victims of sexual abuse know this in their bones.  Without it their lives cannot begin that process.  Should we offer those at Hillsdale, including George Roche III, our support if the truth is told?  Of course.  But first, the truth. 
            Lissa Roche left a child.  He deserves to know the truth.  And that must include all the truths that these circumstances call into question.   He is owed answers.  George Roche IV, the maligned son of the dynamic and charismatic father, is also owed the truth, as is the wife he discarded after many years of marriage.  It is clear that depredations took place in the lives of these people, and it was a very personal kind of wrong doing.  George Roche III used his power, created in the public realm, to control those vulnerable to him, in the private. 
            If we adopted a code of ethics that asked from each of us the same level of honor that we expect in business we would have a schematic for personal behavior that would make this kind of wrong less common, but which, more importantly, would reduce the confusion when it is uncovered.  Such a formula, called Benevolent Individualism, exists.  These are the tenets:

1.  All human action to be appropriate to creating a world of increasing creativity, production, and trust must be based on exchanges between individuals which are made in the absence of force, coercion and fraud. 

2.  The more powerful party to any exchange is responsible for ensuring that the exchange is fair. 

            Lissa Roche was seduced by a powerful man who committed her to secrecy, thus cutting her off from help, beginning when she was still very young.  She was the victim of a sexual predator and it eventually killed her and devastated her family.  

I wrote this in 1999 and found it today while I was looking through old files.  It was true then and I stand by it today. MP-F 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Women, Rights, and the ERA

This article was written and published in 2003.  Today, the ERA remains unratified while the overwhelming majority of Americans think it is law.   This raises several issues we will be addressing here at the Women's Institute in the coming weeks.  

The first is confusion over the biological differences between men and women and why gender and these differences should be ignored by government.  

The second issue is the successful campaign to persuade Americans the ERA had been ratified, which was an expensive, and successful dis-information campaign.  

The third issue is the reframing of law and the appropriate functions of government.

The fourth issue is how we deliver real opportunity for all of us and put the issue gender to bed (so to speak) as we get on with realizing our full potential as individuals.  

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, ERA Campaign California Coordinator,

Wording of the Equal Rights Amendment 

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

You are a woman; you are living at the dawn of the third millennium and you think you are equal under the law. You are wrong, wrong because although the American people from both genders, every age group and part of the country have overwhelmingly believe in equal rights for male and female citizens, still, the Constitution, the highest law in the land, contains no wording that extends fully equal citizens' rights to women.

For equality to be more than a provisional privilege there must be an amendment to the existing Constitution that is ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures.

It has not happened.

The newly passed ERA was sent to the states from Congress in 1972 and everyone believed that it would be ratified by the required 38 states quickly but instead it became a political football linked to issues that have nothing to do with simple equality. Women like Phyllis Schlafly have made careers of opposing an equality that is essential to women – and to our culture as a whole.

What happened instead was a series of laws that assert 'fairness', many passed on the state level. On these women hang their trust that their rights are protected – but each of these laws can be overturned through the actions of the Supreme Court; Without the clear and specific backing of the federal Constitution, even the best laws improving women's rights and opportunities can (and often are) weakened, poorly (or never) enforced, or even overturned.

Now that you understand this, consider the future make up of the Supreme Court. Do you feel safe?

This is how it is, but it is not the whole story. There is hope.

In 2000 a retired research psychologist in Central New Jersey, was asked to speak to a group of Girl Scouts on equality for women. Jennifer Macleod, the speaker, was still active in the local chapter of NOW she cofounded in 1969. She spoke to the troop and, enthused and ready for more, the girls asked for a project they could undertake related to the ERA. Jennifer, an expert in survey research, made up a short questionnaire and showed the girls how polling must be done to accurately reflect the opinions of those polled.

There were three questions. Jennifer expected the Girl Scouts, polling their classmates, teachers, and parents, to find a range of opinions on equality for women. Instead, they found close to unanimous support for the concept.

Buoyed by the potential importance of such findings, Jennifer and a group of associates raised the money to have a national survey professionally conducted in July 2001, among American adults all across the country. The findings? 96% answered "yes" to the question, "In your opinion, should male and female citizens of the United States have equal rights?"; 88% answered "yes" to the question, "In your opinion, should the Constitution make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?"; and, demonstrating a public lack of knowledge, 72% mistakenly answered "yes" to the question, "As far as you know, does the Constitution of the United States make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?" The results were similar for both men and women, and in all age groups, educational levels, regions of the country, racial categories, and household composition.

That was the beginning of the ERA Campaign Network and their campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment on the basis of what is called the Three State Strategy.

Three State Strategy

 The Constitution, in setting forth how amendments can be made, said NOTHING about any time limits -- although, as was the case for several amendments, a time limit can if desired be included in the body of a proposed amendment. The 1972 Congress, in passing the ERA -- which, fully intentionally, contains no mention of any time limit -- chose to attach a 7-year ratification time limit separate from the amendment itself. Then, when the 1979 Congress extended the time limit by 3 years, that set the precedent such that any Congress can legitimately vote to change such a time limit.

How could equality ever fail to be relevant? In an era when women are serving in the military in roles that expose them to combat the arguments that they are frail and must be protected fail to persuade 


So the ERA Campaign Network went to work to help obtain ratification in at least three more not-yet-ratified states.

Vigorous ratification drives are well underway in Illinois (which came very close to ratification in 2004), Florida and Missouri, with many of the other not-yet-ratified states, including Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, building support for their own ratification 


Additionally, awareness is growing of the need to affirm equality for women in the face of the interests who prefer women in the status of second class citizens.  Protection not internal to the Constitution is meaningless and temporary, open to the whims of legislatures and the courts.

It needs to happen and, startled that it has not, Americans are working to see that it does.

The states that are not yet ratified are:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

The states that have failed to ratify are nearly all Southern. To help jump start efforts in these states the ERA Campaign Network has formed caucuses for each unratified state. These are to promote communication and activism from ERA supporters who are now living in states that have 
ratified but came from states that have still to do so.

We may leave our state but we keep our friends, school chums and family. With help from the Internet former southerners are creating a network to build understanding and support for the ongoing effort. The threads of connection are weaving new patterns for women across the nation, connections that will ensure that girls growing up now will have their rights secured to them as individuals.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Linda, you have a lot to learn

By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Bloodworth-Thomason from Fellowship of the Mind
Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has a lot to learn about being free and in community with others.  Standing up for the truth is required of us as human beings.  It does not matter who it is, the truth needs to be told, both to affirm those who suffer harm and to remind those who violate the rights of others of their error.  ‘Doing the right thing,’ means all of the time, every time, not when it is convenient or emotionally easy. 

To put it plainly, she believes she can enjoy a relationship with a sexual predator and cut this off from any judgement of herself when her ‘friend’ violates the personal autonomy of someone else.  This is absurd, wishful thinking which expresses an ugly truth about Ms. Bloodworth and uncounted others. 

What about the many victims Bill Clinton has left in his wake?  What about the campaigns of destruction waged by Hillary Clinton on these victims of Bill’s sexual addiction? 

On John and Ken Show in Los Angeles, a radio talk show, their phone line, “The Moist Line,” for people to leave messages for what scum bag needs to be thrown into the proverbial dumpster this week, only two names were mentioned several times by many women.  One was Harvey Weinstein and the other was, “What about Bill Clinton?”  We have not forgotten. 

Bill and Harvey from The gateway Pundit, Harv chuckling
For you to not counsel Bill Clinton on this matter as your attorney uncle would, is to turn the hashtag, “#MeToo,” into “PoundMeToo,” probably not what you intended, but you are in the arena with a word processor and TV cameras. 

Not being believed, being discounted, dismissed, causes trauma which sends ripples of pain down the entire life of an individual.   Each of us is responsible for our own lives and can be judged when we give the semblance of honor to those whose own actions are at variance with these values when we choose to ignore this human responsibility.   

Linda, you are, as you refused to admit, a hypocrite. 

Freedom from sexual harassment is not just for women in Hollywood, it is for all of us, women and men all of our lives.  Freedom goes way beyond respect for our bodies. Our freedom includes our choices, how we live, love and work as long as we do no harm to others. 

The freedom which increased the recognized autonomy for women, minorities, yes, and for men, to choose their own paths in life, have been expensive.  That cost has been borne by women and men, many now dead, who put their lives on hold to stand up for the rights of those who could not speak for themselves or who were ignored for the reasons which a few weeks ago remained unspoken by those in the Entertainment Industry.

This could not have happened without the collusion of thousands of individuals.  It is easy to understand why so many women and men remained silent, but those reasons do not excuse them or mitigate their continued suffering.    

One tiny step has been taken, despite the overt nature of the sexual predators, male and female, operating within the Entertainment Industry.   But we remain in a world where the Equal Rights Amendment is still unratified, despite the fact most believe this has long since happened.

Linda, you have enabled a sexual predator and then attempted to evade accountability, kicking his victims to the curb.  You admitted this openly when you said, “I will be the first to admit that clearly delineated moral choices can still be painfully complex where friendship is involved. One of the best friends I will ever have and a man I love dearly, former President Bill Clinton, has certainly taxed my feminist conscience, but always without diminishing my affection. I even helped write his apology to the nation for his own sexual misconduct, was sitting next to him when he delivered it, and believe to this day it was based on something that was none of our business. And yes, some may call it hypocritical, but I confess to having had no problem warning at least three top-level Democratic operatives against allowing Harvey Weinstein to host political fundraisers. A warning that evidently (and to the glee of Fox News) fell on deaf ears.”

There is a road out of your hypocrisy.  Read on.  We need a lot more than the ratification of the ERA, as important as that is.  Hear this, there is no space in our world for protecting predators in any arena.

Explaining you were sympathetic when it cost you nothing should make you cringe.  I’m sure Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and others in your industry are relieved.  They can more on, heal, know they are safe.  But there are others who are not safe, not one bit. 

You recounted your personal experiences in the Entertainment Industry.  It is the same in every part of our world where an elite, usually male, but not always, can dictate terms which include demanding favors, sexual or other, from those beneath them.  The relative power of the individual makes it easy to ignore obligations or make demands on those who work for them or are themselves in politics. 

Every part of the political arena, corporate life, the military, and more are subject to the same abuses.  Your silence within your own industry is mirrored in the still unresolved acts of Bill and Hillary Clinton.   

Much of my life was spent in GOP and Libertarian politics.  It was exactly the same.  As a condition of employment Ed Crane of CATO required women who worked there to have sex with him.  Crane was never a proponent of freedom but enjoyed a half-million dollars a year for manicuring issues for his employers, the Kochs.  I exposed this but no on in that arena cared much.  There is, despite that, a difference between being a Libertine and a Libertarian.     

You don’t like Donald Trump so denouncing him is easy.  Trump admitted his failing openly and apologized to his victim.   But Bill apologized to those he had not directly victimized only after being impeached.   So where is the lesson learned?  Gossip has it his behavior has not changed.  How about if we ask his Secret Service Agents?  They likely know.

Corporate Officers are also known to behave in the same way.  Ideology does not matter but power does. 

Linda, you were whining when you wrote, “As for the small screen, I myself was the creator of a man-loving, feminist show called Designing Women. We were arguably one of the most progressive, loudmouthed, female series ever — unapologetically, week after week, we showcased issues involving the objectification of women, violence against women and sexual harassment. Out of 163 episodes, we received one Emmy … for hairdressing. (It might be worth noting that Television Academy voters were 80 percent male.)”

I happen to have a partner who had some comments on your Poplar Bluff Mule memories, which play so large in Designing Women.  Your characterization for your ‘designing women,’ were your parents, descendants of the Bloodworth boys on Lester Street.  One of the boys went into law in Poplar Bluff. 

The Bloodworth boys learned about girl power from those Brake Girls who lived across Lester Street.  The Bloodworth Boys lost a fist-fight to the four Brake girls after bullying the recently fatherless sisters on the subject of racism.  Their mother had run for Butler County Clerk in an alliance between the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the then Negro population, which took on the Klu Klux Klan, who bought the election with free drinks with the quid pro quo they would vote for the Klan candidate against the widow.  Jesse Lee Collins-Brake lost, but broke the back politically of the Klan in the Boot Heel ever after.  The young Bloodworth boys were gloating over this loss and took it as a license to bully the girls.  The Brake girls whipped their asses with their KerPow, continuing to swim with their black friends in the Black and Current Rivers. 

Everyone, Brake and Bloodworth went home with black eyes. 

To their credit, the Bloodworth boys learned their lesson and, thereafter, fought for desegregation and positive race relations the rest of their lives.  However, they did not seem to communicate to you the full source of the conflict; to not bully girls.  Now, you know and we can move on.  To exonerate yourself you need to advocate to Bill, as his ghost writer, that beyond admission of guilt, sorrow, and apology, he needs to tell the truth about his bullying and quid pro quos for sex and make restitution.  One way he and Hillary can do this is to reroute the $250.000 given to them by Harvey Weinstein and instead create the Harvey Weinstein “Endowment” and add their own millions, not as hush money, but as true restitution.  Since Bill and Hillary now control $900M, this coming after poverty when their campaign fund was down to $50,000 in March 1992, could make a dent in the ladies’ problems. 

Bill and Hillary ignored all the wisdom and solutions offered them in favor of power and money, only pretending to care about solving so many problems.    

The lives led by the Bloodworth Boys and Those Brake Girls from Poplar Bluff could solve many of the problems Americans face today.  Go back and ask your families, and some Mules.  If they don’t know, you can come ask me. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

The All Powerful and Omni-Potent Cult of the Sperm ...and other emotionally satisfying myths

The Myths of Science and Their Agenda 

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Aristotle was a smart guy.

One day he squinted down into a handful of his own semen and noticed an army of tiny little wigglers vainly trying to go someplace. I have to admit, the guy must have had great eyesight.

From this evidence the man derived the Theory of the Omni-Potent Sperm, which is still alive and, well, living with us today.

Men, asserted Aristotle, are the source of all life.

They ejaculate their wondrous seed into the fertile, but dead soil of the Woman, and behold, life. All else was irrelevant.

From this handy theory -- the original example of junk science -- Western Civilization (wasn't it Gandhi who said, when asked what he thought of Western Civilization, that he thought it would be a good idea?) derived the law that gave into the hands of men the full and unquestioned custody of children, the product of their excessively valuable loins. It was a question of property riveted to a proper respect for the miraculous process of impregnation. 
Birth? That was just delegated work of little value. Women did it, for gosh sakes, how much could it be worth?

Sex? That was work a man could get into.

This was, of course, long before the time of such useful cognitive tools as economic theory and biophysics. But this is the source of the laws with which we still live today.

When they were struggling for their rights, women faced a legal reality that denied they had any right to their children -- thanks to Aristotle and his handy handful of reproductive juices. So they punted. They compromised with another legal fiction: men and women each should have a 50% interest in their biological children. As will most compromises, this one has not worked either.

Even though economic theory existed, no one thought to apply it. Even though the biological realities were better understood, they were ignored. After all, what does law have to do with reality?

The social tinkering of generations of We-Know-What's-Good-For-You theoreticians had so deadened us to the verities of individual rights that we did not even notice. And lawyers? As we all know, they are for the most part so toxic they are likely to turn into politicians.

But it is never too late to change.

The Cult of the Omni-Potent Sperm is actually pretty funny when you summon the images of that scene into the mind: a group of jerks jerking off while their economy (yes, they had one) continued to function on the wealth produced most exclusively by the disfranchised. Women and slaves were the working population. Men who could vote did not work -- unless jerking off and talking are forms of labor. They did become politicians (and, presumably, lawyers). Women were slaves, but they didn't get the use of the title. Slaves, after all, could buy their freedom in that day in age; women could not.

While ancient Greeks might not have understood the economic theory whereby they asserted ownership of the source of wealth, they certainly understood how to do it. 
We will now consider the economic realities of the biological investment the two genders of humanity make in offspring. We will now dispose of the Cult of the Omni-Potent Sperm once and for all. The Cult has had its long run, but it is time to get real.

The Tangled Web of Human Biology Why fatherhood is not about DNA

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Fatherhood is not about DNA.

Fatherhood is about a relationship -- including the wiping of noses, hugs, long nights of rocking, changing diapers and all forms of support including financial. It is about being a good example to your child through the acts that make up your life.

Fatherhood is a lot like motherhood when practiced well. 

Adoptive parents know they are mothers and fathers without sharing any DNA with their children.

How did we come to confuse the issues? Blame government indifference to just outcomes for individuals.

Expect no more justice on parental issues than you find in the tax code. To those who wield power, reducing the call upon public money for the support of single parent children has a higher priority than justice or truth. Women using welfare services are forced to name the biological "father". You can hear practically the judge thinking, "Well, if he isn't the father of this one, he is the father of some other kid on welfare."

That is the first problem. The second is much deeper. At the foundation of the morass is the fact we have mistakenly equated two human relationships that are substantially different: motherhood and fatherhood.

There is a saying that goes, "While you know who the mother is, the father is always in doubt." This is not said to insult women -- it is a logical extrapolation of the facts of biology.

Women get pregnant. Their bodies respond to the baby within by making huge changes. Hormones, impacted by the baby's presence, go into overdrive -- causing emotional and physical changes in the mother-to-be. Her breasts ready themselves for lactation as her body prepares for the stresses of birth. We see pregnancy. In Norse legend, laboring women were counted as warriors. 

Mothering is also a cultural role, but it has always primarily been a biological role that is complex and consuming. A new mother may be inept at the realities of caring for her baby, but nature has prepared her for that role as well as it can with all of its evolutionary wisdom. On this primary biological reality is based the survival of our species.

Fatherhood is cultural, a late adaptation not shared with other primates. Men do not experience hormonal changes. They do not give birth; they become fathers by simply being fathers as they see that role practiced around them, especially through their own life examples. Fatherhood is therefore practiced differently in various cultures while motherhood is a human universal. The Madonna and Child speak to all humankind.

Nature provides no kick-start for the process and exacts no essential physical or psychological payment from men. Their costs are all cultural. Sperm, the means of DNA transmission, are source so worthless that men have to pay to give it away in most cases. Given the number of abortions today, some might call it toxic waste. Recipients may even expect it to be delivered with various frills, for instance dinner and a movie.

Which is no comfort at all to men paying support for children they have never seen and with whom they have no biological relationship. They are not fathers in either sense.

And if the question of DNA testing were only to relieve them of an unjust burden justice would be simple.

We now have access to a technology that has enabled us to document the genetic aspect of all relationships. But the uses we are making of that technology tells more about the inconsistencies and injustices of our past than it does about what we need to do to create a better future for ourselves and our children.

Some few women are probably lying. Most women in this situation are just mistaken. Our best bet may be wrong in any specific case.

But that is not the issue.

In some cases men undertake a fatherhood role in the life of a child assuming they share DNA. In some number of cases they might have assumed that role anyway. Babies are enchantingly attractive and being a father is an honored role in our culture. Babies come with mothers who can also be wives and lovers. For whatever reason, men become fathers. Fatherhood should be a relationship, freely entered into and responsibly carried out, as all relationships should be founded on choice and not coercion, truth and not lies.

But a history of hugs, wiped tears and years of cherishing cannot be cancelled by any test. Fatherhood is not made by biology but through love and human honor. 

DNA testing has made available to us a powerful tool for justice. Men who have not become fathers should not be forced to support children with whom they do no share DNA. But fathers, men who have seen their love reflected in the eyes of a child, do not abandon their child because that would be an unpardonable breech of trust.

Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer: Adventures in the Jungles of Sex, Motherhood, and Domestic Violence

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

I first encountered the reality of domestic violence after I learned to read but before I understood what it meant to be dead. Proper parents did not confront their children with the stark realities of death, violence or abuse. My parents, a college professor and a mathematician, were all that was proper in that regard. Therefore the hushed conversation I overheard when Father came home unusually early looking very upset and not at all like his usual assured self. I was shooed out of their bedroom and therefore took up my usual listening post just outside the door in the hallway. Yes, I was an insufferable brat. But I had ascertained that you learn interesting things by listening. 

On this occasion I hear my father’s voice speaking low and rumbling with pain talking about a bloody event. The estranged husband of one of the office employees had shot down his wife. Their voices dropped so low I could not hear and then rose. I heard the shock in my mother’s tone. The tiny drops of red on his formerly crisp white shirt now made ugly sense. 

We call it domestic violence. We urge women to ‘move on,” “be positive,” and “stop asking for it.” We talk down to the victims even while we fail to make it safe for them to leave. Then we blame them for enabling the abuse. We protect the ‘rights’ of the violent in preference to protecting the lives of the innocent. 

In this way we fail as individuals and as a nation to say NO to violence. Therefore, with the inevitable logic of causality we say yes to continuing generations of fear, deceit, violent abuse and death. 

There are lots of ways to spell stupid. 

Two generations ago a woman named Rosa Parks took a seat on a bus denied to her by the law. Seated beside and around her were attorneys and activists who were mandated to protect her person and her rights. We celebrate Rosa Parks as a hero for freedom, and so she is. 

What are we saying to women who fight back to change the system? I will tell you. We say, “You are too smart to do this.” “Get on with your life.” “You can do nothing so don’t try.” 

It is not surprising that there has been no Rosa Parks for domestic violence. No one would or could endure the danger and abuse it would take to create such a case. Therefore changing our cultural practices makes it essential that women who have been abused stand up for their rights and challenge the powers that be. To do that we need to recognize the kind of courage it takes to do that and give them support. 

I know. My own daughter has tried to speak out and the powers that be agree on one thing. She must be silenced. They offer her no support only sappy advice about moving on; advise they would never offer to a victim of any other kind of institutional injustice. 

More women die today of domestic violence than die of prejudice. More lives ad maimed and distorted; more damage is done to each of us and to the future we are trying to build for our children. Supporting women who speak out from all walks of life is the moral duty of anyone and everyone who is committed to changing the stark reality of domestic violence. That means not treating battered women as flawed but understanding that it is our system that commits them to lives of terror and fear. 

When women speak out we should see what they could accomplish for others by forcing change to take place. We should thank them, support them, and encourage them with all that it takes to say NO to violence and YES to human relationships free of violence, coercion and fraud. 

I am prouder of my daughter than I can say. It has taken indomitable will to withstand both abuse and the institutions and individuals who continue to enable abuse. 

When the reality of domestic abuse changes it will happen because of women like my daughter and not because of the legions of politicians and attorneys who trade on their pain. 

It will happen because we are not going to just take it any more. 

A Free Market Solution to the Question of Gender

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Barry Loberfeld’s saucy rant, combining diverse elements of philosophical argumentation counter seasoned with a tart touch of law and a few grains of biology is both unconvincing and pointless. 

Back to the basics. 

Individuals own their own bodies. Women and men both should be able to control their bodies and the products of those same bodies. This is not the world we live in today, however. It is also not the world our culture claims by tradition. But it is the future and the philosophical and moral viewpoint that the Freedom Movement is, at least formally, dedicated to affirm. Arguing about the gross injustice that exists today, a mixed market of draconian statism and bad social policy dragged here from history, is a waste of time. 

The real question is, what would Freedom look like enacted in this area? 

Let us first consider the easiest case, and the one instance where I agree fully with Mr. Loberfeld. 

Men should not be become fathers against their will any more than women should become mothers in the same case. But in actual fact very few men pay support for children conceived in such instances. Few men help pay the transaction costs of abortion. Virtually no men pay even a fraction of the costs related to contraception. Note that this is a pragmatic clarification aimed at the present status quo. 

The status quo is wrong – but not for the reasons opined by Mr. Loberman. The fact is that along with the very marginal financial support mandated in law men who are bioDads get tremendous power. Many women have been prohibited by courts from relocating if the bioDad objected. Women in this situation do not infrequently find themselves confronted, years later, with demands that the bioDad, unknown to the child, be allowed an active role in the child’s raising. Often these men have had no contact and paid not a cent of support. This is allowed by the courts, distorting the lives these women have chosen to lead. Women have been forced to pay off bioDads to simply get them to go away. Again, a pragmatic clarification of the status quo. 

Men should not be fathers against their will. Neither should they be able to force this relationship on a woman and child simply because of biology.

But the ranges of cases are much greater than this one posed by Mr. Loberfeld. Remember the provision that the pregnancy happen with consent? The unappetizing fact is that many women presently on welfare became pregnant before the age of consent and were impregnated by men much older. Therefore there was no informed consent. But still the courts recognize fatherhood without the consent of the woman. Rapists have also asserted, and been granted, rights of fatherhood. 

If the individual has the inherent right to bodily sovereignty then no court should be able to grant to any man fatherhood without the consent of the woman. Marriage has always been a contractual relationship that assumed that children would make the husband a father. That there are grave problems with marriage law is unarguable. But I will not take up that point here. 

In the case of non-consensual impregnation not only should there be no fatherhood there should be recognition of liability by the bioDad. Liability should be not to the child, but to the woman. Unchosen motherhood is a diminution of choice. It should be an actionable torte. 

In a free, world where responsible individuals acted responsibly and could act upon their inherent rights, women would insist that the costs and potential liabilities related to consensual intercourse and contraception be shared. They would have the power to do so. Relationships are a market open to all of the pressures of any market. 

Women would be able to write any marriage contract they wanted, without the interference of the State. Men and women could sign, or not sign, and be held to the contract in the same way we each have to pay for anything else we want. Most unmarried men are actually subsidized in this regard. Women bear the costs of gynecological visits, contraceptives, abortions, and the overwhelming share of the costs of raising children, both monetary and non-monetary. 

The irrationality of law has disregarded the biological reality that men and women are very different. It ignores the fact that there is a market in relationships, assigning a ‘one price standard’ to marriage that is clearly not in keeping with a free market. And also egregiously, they have limited women’s rights to negotiate for a benefit from selling sexual access and the right to parent a child. Therefore instead of a range of sexual options, a long gradient from companionate marriage to prostitution, we have only marriage completely in the ‘white,’ legal, market, and only prostitution in the, ‘black,’ illegal, market. Payment for sex and other contractual transactions are unenforceable by State fiat. In adoption we see women forced to give up babies for just their expenses. By controlling children the State has effectively made all mothers slaves on a governmental plantation. All of these are violations of a woman’s right to control of her body and life. 

In ignoring the biological realities the State and culture has tried to assign equal values to very unequal things. But the mechanisms of markets tell us the relative values of these things. Sperm is so cheap you have to make home deliveries and pay for the privilege of giving it away. An ovum, ready to be fertilized, costs thousands of dollars. A newly born and healthy baby can cost a couple adopting on the free market from $20,000 to $100,000. 

Ideas are the foundation of freedom. Within the context of thought we see and know and begin to act on the rights that are inherent in each of us. It is time that women were manumitted from the bondage that has shackled a thousand generations. And it is time that the Freedom Movement understood what those rights really are. 

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the president of The Women’s Institute for Individual and Political Justice, based in Santa Barbara. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Benevolent Individualism. If you are interested in further information contact the Institute contact us either through the contact page at or through our newsletter, FreedomFems, Home Page